July 16, 2022

Med Tech Talks Ep. 61: Dr. Zain Kassam Pt. 1

Med Tech Talks Ep. 61: Dr. Zain Kassam Pt. 1

💩 Fecal microbiota 🦠, the Queen 👑, and a unicorn 🦄 - what do they all have in common?
Geoffrey Ching chatted with Dr. Zain Kassam, co-founder of Finch Therapeutics - a Massachussetts based unicorn focused on microbiome therapeutics. Zain teased us with w...


💩 Fecal microbiota 🦠, the Queen 👑, and a unicorn 🦄 - what do they all have in common?

Geoffrey Ching chatted with Dr. Zain Kassam, co-founder of Finch Therapeutics - a Massachussetts based unicorn focused on microbiome therapeutics. Zain teased us with what he has accomplished, and talked about the rationale behind his unusual journey from gastroenterologist-in-training to unicorn co-founder.

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Time stamps:

1:20-3:27 - What’s in the box? Zain offers a teaser on his interest in microbiota transplants, microbiome sciences, and the systemic impacts of this whole new world.

3:58-6:51 - A flashback to 2004, Zain’s high school education and his interactions with influential people; Zain chats about the moments and people who made an impact on his career.

7:27-10:22 - “Think horses not zebras.” Zain explains why this phrase, alongside a family experience, led him to choose gastroenterology as his specialty of choice.

10:50-14:28 - Publications in industry? Disruption in how research impact is assessed? Zain discusses research as a tool for advancement in innovation - not just as a means to push the “publish or perish” mentality.

14:35-19:08 - What do the Queen of England and the Brown Cross have to do with Zain’s passion with microbiota transplants? We learn how an (apparent) doppelganger shifted Zain’s focus onto clinical trials as an academic gastroenterologist at Harvard and MIT.

19:40-22:55 - What was the impact of interacting with those who founded OpenBiome? Zain talks about how he settled on academic medicine as a platform to get involved in innovation where the KPIs are companies and patents more so than papers and posters.

23:03-25:55 How did a talk by Jim Kim, the previous head of the Head Bank who had a strong social justice tilt, shift Zain’s focus onto innovation and the private sector? Zain had to do some reframing about his relationships with industry before he began his work with Finch Therapeutics.